Waukesha County Technical College
4:16 P.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: This is quite a place — with a beautiful speaker system, I will tell you. (Laughter.) We can tell that immediately.
Well, good afternoon and thank you to my good friend, Governor Scott Walker — tremendous guy, tremendous governor — for hosting us here in the great state of Wisconsin. It is a great state. I’ve been here many times since the election.
I’m also thrilled to be joined by Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta — thank you, Alex. (Applause.) And Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. (Applause.) We’re here today at Waukesha County Technical College to discuss one of the most important questions facing our young people — how to get education and training that they need to find a rewarding and high-paying job.
We have a lot of companies moving into the United States, and we’re negotiating with a lot of companies. Just backstage, we were negotiating with a major, major, incredible manufacturer of phones and computers and televisions. And I think they’re going to give the Governor a very happy surprise very soon.
During my campaign for President, I talked about crucial importance of vocational training — teaching young people the skills, crafts and trades that are vital to our economy and our success as a country, and their success as an individual. America must not only teach but celebrate the skilled laborers that produce and maintain the world’s greatest machines, buildings, products and infrastructure — innovations that improve our quality of life, help keep us safe, and have the power to inspire awe and wonder.
And I will say, when I was going to school and I was going to college, that I’d meet people that didn’t have a great ability or, frankly, they didn’t have a great liking for what they were doing, what they were studying. But they could take apart an engine. They could do drilling like I’ve never seen before. They could put up a brick wall better than all of the kids in that college or that university — a great school. They could put up a wall in record time and make it far better than anybody else could have done. They just had an amazing ability. And that’s what we’re about today.
We’re here today to talk about the dignity of work and the greatness of the American worker — and also loving the work you do. I just toured the classrooms and I must say they aren’t your normal lecture halls, but in a certain way, they’re far more beautiful. You learn incredible skills like welding, automotive repair, and machine tool operations. And I looked at the machines and I’ll tell you, what they have is incredible. And the knowledge to operate them is very, very, very amazing.
This institution has pioneered the hands-on learning and apprenticeships that produce terrific careers for young Americans.
Governor Walker has developed workforce training — very important, workforce training — programs that open up more opportunities for all students, whether they want to go to a four-year college, a technical college, trade school, or work and learn as a skilled apprentice. I love the name, apprentice. (Laughter.) It’s a great word. The Governor just announced $3.9 million in grant funds to place 4,300 high school juniors and seniors in apprenticeships in areas like agriculture, health science, hospitality, and engineering.
We want a future where every high school in America offers apprenticeship opportunities for young citizens — and studying things that they want to study, and studying things that they’re going to be great at. Under this vision, high school students could learn, and they could earn. And, boy, when I say earn, they can make great, great salaries doing something that they love — learn invaluable skills, find a career they love, and enter the workforce faster and without debt.
Tomorrow, you’ll be hearing more about how my administration is going to expand apprenticeships all throughout the country for young people, and it’s called earn while they learn. That’s pretty good.
I look forward to hearing from all of you — especially from the students who are here today — great students — who will tell us about their experience learning some of the most important trades in our nation. That’s what keeps our nation going. We’re going to do everything we can to support you and help more young people have the opportunities we have here in Waukesha County and its incredible County Technical College. ‘m very, very impressed with everybody I’ve met. I’m very, very impressed with the facilities, and a lot of very talented people leaving here and going on to something they love, and making a fantastic living.
So I just want to thank you all. And you have done a wonderful job. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you.
I’d like to introduce now my daughter, Ivanka, who is so strongly committed to what we are here for today. And she’s going to say a few words. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
MS. TRUMP: Thank you for having us here today at the Waukesha County Technical College. It was truly inspiring to see such a dynamic campus and to meet so many motivated students — several of whom are with us at this table. I enjoyed seeing firsthand the incredible and very important work that you’re doing here.
Throughout the campaign, and since joining the White House, the President, members of the administration and myself have met with CEOs and business leaders and heard repeatedly about the challenges they face in finding candidates with the required skills to meet the available jobs. While millions of Americans are struggling to find full-time employment, companies are reporting difficulty finding people with the skills they need to fill those vacant positions.
There are currently 6 million jobs available in this country that are due in part to the skills gap. The private sector and states — and thank you, Governor, for all that you’re doing here — are taking initiative and partnering with schools such as this to create curriculums and apprenticeship programs that teach the skills in need of their companies and that are required to succeed in the modern economy. Today we have seen firsthand the success of these skill-based programs and the success that they can have.
Programs like this are critical to bridging our nation’s skill gap and to ensuring that there is a great and ready talent pool to meet the in-demand jobs that are currently available and continue to come online.
Workforce development is at the heart of the administration’s agenda, and we are very, very excited to be here today and support the great work being done here at Waukesha. So thank you, thank you, all.
And, Governor Walker, thank you for hosting us. (Applause.)
GOVERNOR WALKER: Well, thank you both — Mr. President and Ivanka Trump, thank you so much for joining us, as well as bringing your two outstanding Cabinet Secretaries in both Labor and Education. It’s really an honor to have you back. We appreciate it.
We just had Mike Pence — Vice President Pence was in town in Milwaukee on Saturday, talking about healthcare. It’s even more exciting — as much as I love Mike — to have you here today. And it’s perfect because the President — back earlier this year, all the governors from across the country got together and we were talking about healthcare and transportation and all sorts of issues. And I got up and I said, Mr. President, appreciate that discussion, but the number-one issue in our state is workforce. And so I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your being here today.
I particularly love actually both of you being here because I think that day I referenced something I’ll repeat for just a moment, and then we’ll open up to this panel for about 15 minutes and take some comments from folks here — but I love — there’s a picture, the last time I saw in the Oval Office, there’s a picture of your father on the desk behind the Resolute desk. And what I love is what you said once and I never forgot — when your father taught you the importance of hard work and working people.
And that same day, Ivanka, you gave a speech earlier where you talked about how your father was just at home on the worksite with the bricklayers and the steamfitters as he was with the manager out there. And I thought that was so incredibly important because I know for sure, in this state — and I know the CEOs would say it as I hope the students would as well — and that is that we have jobs. In this state, we have more people employed than ever before. Today alone, I looked on the job — our website called Jobscenterwisconsin.com — had 96,901 jobs listed on that site today alone.
And so we have more people employed in the state than ever before. We have an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent — that’s the lowest it’s been since before 9/11. And we have one of the highest percentages of people working — Mr. Secretary, you’ll appreciate that — we have almost 69 percent labor force participation rate. So we’re in the top 10 in the nation out there. But that means we need to find more people to fill those jobs.
And so what you’re seeing here at Waukesha County Technical College and the 15 other colleges like this across the state are really at the forefront.
And so, again, thank you to WCTC for hosting us, and particularly for the students and instructors we heard from.
4:28 P.M. CDT